Henry Tam and Mgi Team

Topics: Leadership, Management Pages: 5 (2083 words) Published: April 19, 2008
In Henry Tam and the MGI team, a group of extremely diverse and talented individuals came together to create a business plan for a unique and creative product to compete in the annual HBS business plan contest. This group consisted of two famous Russian composers, a seasoned businessman, and a group of students from various majors including the HBS MBA student Henry Tam. Unfortunately, this mixture of extreme diversity and viewpoints among team members created a fractious team environment that is further fueled by the group’s lack of team processes, leadership, and definitive role assignment. As time runs out for this competition, personal conflicts and group indecisions are pushing the project towards eminent failure. From the start, Henry Tam could have minimized the effect of this issue had he pushed his team for more structured team processes, clear defined leadership, individualized task assignments, and appropriate role assignment according to each member’s skill set. Nevertheless, Henry still can salvage this business plan by start becoming the facilitator to organize this team and setup more effective processes to better utilize the team’s diverse skill sets and converge on the ultimate goal. Teams can be truly remarkable or terribly dysfunctional1, cannot be better said for Henry and the MGI team, but unfortunately in their current state, it’s remarkable how a capable and diverse team became so dysfunctional because of their diversity is unregulated by good team processes due to initial poor planning. Diversity is not a bad thing for teams, in fact, it is said to be good for creative and divergent activities[2], but without good organization and planning the eventual convergence of ideas for that single goal cannot be achieved and a team get stuck in a perpetual limbo. For MGI, this all started with how MGI performed their new team member selection. The initial MGI team failed to gain commercial success due to what they perceived as lack of business skilled help for Sasha, the HBS graduated business lead, so the MGI team decided to draft new members from local schools including the prestigious HBS school. However, MGI team never properly decided among themselves the skill sets they seek, the personalities that be a proper fit, the roles the new hire will fulfill, nor the tasks that shall be accomplished by new member. Sasha’s email sent to HBS student mailing only promoted the company instead of actually describing the role and expectations of the position. To be exact, the position in the email is characterized by the open ended statement: “We are now looking for help with general management, sales and marketing for Children edutainment market.” It seems the goal of the offer is to make MGI attractive to their targeted school and not really seeking out a member based on any set criteria. However, from its past history, it appears MGI team definitely has a few business management positions to fill, but MGI team failed to diagnose what they needed and what type of team member is considered a proper fit. Sasha, a man with poor interpersonal skill, did not consider if he really desired a teammate or just a subordinate, given his later reaction to the HBS students, he probably should have preferred the establishing a manager-led working group2. However, Henry was hired because Igor liked him as a person and it is uncertain if the MGI team even consulted among themselves before Henry was added to the team as seemingly a full-fledged team member. Dana, the other HBS graduated student was signed on for primarily for her ethnic background being close to Ukraine, home of the composers. In fact, even the consideration for Dana’s investment banking experience was an afterthought by Sasha and never did Sasha consider why an investment banker would be a necessary fit for this team given its current challenges and tasks. MGI Team Appears to be operating under the mentality; the more the better, larger the team...
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